• Welcome to Our Blog!

    Like all blogs, we thrive on feedback, so don't be shy! We encourage you to comment on our blog posts, and if you have suggestions or questions, please shoot us an email at pr@groundfloormedia.com. You can also read more about us at GroundFloorMedia.com or MeetAtCT.com.

Getting to the Point in Public Relations

Getting to the Point in a PR Pitch

When he’s not peering into my purse and desk drawers to scout for contraband snacks and gum, Gil Rudawsky spends his days as one of GroundFloor Media’s fearless leaders. As a Vice President, he has more than two decades of communications and journalism experience. This translates into expert counsel for our staff and clients, particularly in the areas of issues management, crisis communications and public policy campaigns.

Prior to joining GroundFloor Media, Gil served as the deputy editor on the business and metro desks at the Rocky Mountain News. When asked to describe the number of pitches that crossed his desk during those years, he estimates 50,000. This volume of requests has helped him to finely craft pitches of his own.

As colleagues, we review one another’s client communications constantly. Gil is adept at revealing the heart of the matter and never mincing words – a quality I deeply appreciate and admire in a teammate. I sat down with him to talk about how digital and public relations professionals can get to the point.

Press releases then and now

CLARE: With ever-expanding digital media, has there been a shift away from lengthy press releases?
GIL: Going back 30 years, lengthy press releases were always looked down upon, and that’s the case today. I don’t think anybody should have ever sent them, even when we had newsrooms that were four times the size they are now. Because of the breakneck pace of news, journalists have always been too busy. Back then and today, they are only attuned to the top one or two paragraphs of a pitch. If you haven’t sold your story or angle in that spot, you haven’t done your job.

From journalism to public relations

CLARE: Given your background at the Rocky Mountain News, how does that experience as a journalist serve you in your day-to-day work as a communications leader?
GIL: I use the skills I gained in journalism on a daily basis in a variety of areas, mostly in messaging. I focus on writing concisely and getting to the point quickly and I encourage our clients to do the same. In terms of strategy, I’m always thinking about audiences and the best way to present the information. I love capturing a narrative through an engaging video, graphically or in a podcast. For better or worse, we don’t need journalists to tell our client stories anymore.

CLARE: Your personal writing is succinct and to the point. Do you have a method to harness that style when you write content for clients?
GIL: Succinct and to the point are good but context and good storytelling are more important. Color, flavor and storytelling can bring dry or mundane issues to life. Always ask “Why should the audience care about this?”

Supportive proof points and audiences

CLARE: Do you have specific questions you ask a client during the briefing process?
GIL: For messaging, we always want to focus on three key points that we want to get out to their audiences. At the same time, you should your identify the audiences, whether internal or external stakeholders, customers or regulators, etc. You want your three key points to be strong and include supporting proof points that make sense to each of those audiences. I always look at it as a pyramid —  simple messages and building to more in-depth proof points.

CLARE: What are some common mistakes companies make during the messaging phase of a release?
GIL: I think it’s forgetting your primary audience. The general public doesn’t care about your internal terms and branded words – these are meaningless. Companies forget how to be conversational and accessible.

Fewer specialized journalists

CLARE: You have written on our blog about the changing landscape of journalism (one, two, three). Do you want to share any learnings from 2018 so far?
GIL: The trend over the past 15 years continues. We have fewer specialized journalists. Journalists who used to cover a beat now have to cover a variety of topics. Everyone has to be a generalist and that makes our job more difficult. You used to talk to a reporter and they were just as knowledgeable about the topic as you were, if not more so. Because journalists are stretched thin, that’s a rarity now. Educating the media is becoming more important.

CLARE: What do you enjoy most about working in public relations?
GIL: My favorite work is the collaboration between our staff at GFM and CenterTable and the variety of our clients. Our strategies and thoughtfulness can make a real difference in how clients communicate, and therefore how they are perceived by the public. Personally, I feel like the work I do is valued by both clients and teammates and that’s easily the best part for me.

19 More Fridays Until Christmas!

weekly-reads-header-5

Get ready for that time of year where big box stores skip straight over Halloween and dive headlong into winter holiday decorations. Perhaps your organization should be thinking ahead too. You’ve still got time to implement some web and content strategies for higher conversion rates during the holiday season. The strategies below can work for you whether your holiday campaign will include collecting donations or motivating people to purchase your services. Give your future self the gift of a solid plan.

Social Media Today: 5 Things You Should Be Doing Right Now to Prepare for Giving Tuesday

Opening day is coming! Whether you think of Giving Tuesday or Colorado Gives Day as opening day to the holiday giving season, put a plan in place now. Identify your most compelling stories, prep your tech for a deluge of donations and make sure you’ve thought through how to make the most of your hard work. Even if you’re a for-profit business, consider finding a nonprofit partner that might make sense for you to work with.
Read more after the jump…

The Get Grounded Foundation Awards Grants to 6 Programs Serving Denver’s At-Risk Youth

GroundFloor Media & CenterTable's Get Grounded Foundation Spotlight
The Get Grounded Foundation awarded six new community grants during its Spring 2018 grant cycle. Totaling more than $21,000, the grantees were selected for their efforts to get a new or innovative program off the “ground floor” in the areas of child abuse and neglect, youth behavioral health and/or childhood hunger relief. To date, the Foundation has granted more than $100,000 in community grants

Spring 2018 Get Grounded Foundation Grant Recipients

The spring 2018 grant recipients include:

Children’s Farms of America’s Farm-School Garden Specialist

The facilitator of the FreshLo Farms for Kids project in the Montbello neighborhood in Denver, Children’s Farms of America will use this grant to support a farm-school garden specialist to consult on urban agriculture, increasing yield in small spaces, working with children and adults on topics such as growing environments, pest management, nutrition and food preparation.

Read more after the jump…

Reporting Workplace Harassment During the #MeToo Movement

person-of-year-2017-time-magazine-cover1Many of us were captivated by the sudden rise in awareness around the #MeToo movement last year, with the departure of high-profile newsmen and then earlier this year, Hollywood stepped in to create another round of publicity.

While #MeToo launched more than a decade ago, it took Hollywood to bring it into focus and raise nearly $22 million for the Legal Defense Fund to help women and men with legal fees.

I’m part of a women’s discussion group – similar to a book club with lovely food and wine, but we usually bring in a speaker and have a discussion on a topic – and we recently took on the #MeToo topic. Here’s some of what we learned.

Read more after the jump…

CenterTable Adds 2 New Digital Marketing Experts

The CenterTable team recently grew by two when Rachael Roark and Olivia Ward joined the team.

Rachael1_FA_centertable_jpgRachael Roark will focus on audience-based research to inform strategic integrated plans, SEO programs and content creation. She joins the agency from 90octane, where she was SEO manager supporting highly targeted, integrated marketing strategies for a number of B2B and B2C clients such as Oracle, Arrow Electronics and Whole Foods. A native of Colorado, Roark graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in photography and minors in business and marketing.

Olivia Ward combines a tactical approach to big-picture thinking with attention to detail, ensuring clients connect with their audiences through informed social strategies. Prior to joining CenterTable, Ward’s experience included working as a senior social media specialist at Volume Nine and as a digital marketing freelancer. She also served as a media buyeOlivia-1r for Lewis J. Advertising, successfully negotiating and buying traditional and digital media for four competitive markets. Originally from Wakeman, Ohio, Ward earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communication and international studies from North Dakota State University.

“Rachael and Olivia both bring unique, strategic experience to their roles that will ensure CenterTable remains at the forefront of industry trends,” said Ramonna Robinson, president and managing partner of GroundFloor Media and co-founder of CenterTable. “Their valuable insights will enable our team to continue delivering direct and measurable connections with our client audiences through the creative, integrated campaigns and strategic counsel for which we are well-known.”

To meet the other members of the CenterTable team or get to better get to know both agencies, visit Facebook, InstagramLinkedIn, or Twitter.

 

Libraries That Check Out People and Other Non-Obvious Brand Trends

At South by Southwest this year Rohit Bhargava spoke about some of the non-obvious trends for 2018 that his company identified. You can see the full list of 2018 and past trends on the company’s website. Two that caught my eye were Human Mode and Lovable Unperfection.

Human Mode

Human mode is the pendulum swinging away from pure digital automation. Sure sometimes you just want to order a pizza online or skip chit-chat with a cashier and check yourself out at a kiosk, but there are other times when you need a quick question answered by a real human.

Trend spotted – Human Mode

Read more after the jump…

The Social Media Advertising Landscape Is Changing Drastically

weekly-reads-header-5

While Facebook and Google still own the lion’s share of digital and social media advertising, the landscape at the platform level is undergoing a seismic shift. The days of creating content that is intended to work on multiple platforms are long gone and the era of hyper platform-specific creative is here to stay. 

Facebook

Fast Company: Facebook promises to nix its tools for discriminatory ad targeting

If you advertise on Facebook you may have seen recent updates notifying you that certain targeting options being used in your ad campaigns may soon be going away. Facebook has already removed many targeting options that may allow individuals to be targeted “on topics that relate to potentially sensitive personal attributes, such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion.” The rest of the targeting options will be removed in the next 90 days.  Read more after the jump…

Crisis Communication Playbook Thrown Out in Papa John’s Saga

Papa Johns Crisis CommunicationsPapa John’s founder and former Chief Executive John Schnatter has gone from being the face of the billion-dollar pizza chain to a punchline in The Onion.

Schnatter resigned last week from the company amid reports that he used a racial slur during a media training session with his PR and marketing firm. But this is more than a one-day media cycle story. The feud continues to heat up between the pizza chain’s board, the PR and marketing firm and Schnatter. And crisis communication lessons abound.

Communications and PR strategist David B. Grinberg offered his take:

Schnatter’s failure to follow the crisis communications playbook added fuel to the fire. He should have faced the media via a live press conference. Admit wrongdoing. Apologize to the public. Show heartfelt remorse. Ask for forgiveness. Explain that using the N-word is always wrong, regardless of the context. Talk about life lessons learned regarding race. Express renewed commitment to combat racism. Then pivot to positive messaging.

Papa John’s PR and marketing firm Laundry Service, which is owned by talent management company Wasserman, has kept a low profile since Schnatter’s remarks. Adweek obtained a copy of an internal memo sent to Laundry Service’s employees, which instructed them not to talk to reporters about the incident.

“As you all know, there’s been a lot of coverage about Laundry Service and Wasserman related to the Papa John’s situation in the past several days,” the note begins. “The disparaging and outrageous comments about Wasserman and Laundry Service that have been covered are completely false and we have a centralized PR strategy to go on the record and refute them. Until that time we cannot expect the media to know the truth,” Laundry Service said in its memo.

Adding more to the saga, late this week Schnatter a lawsuit filed in Delaware Chancery Court seeking to inspect company documents “because of the unexplained and heavy-handed way in which the company has treated him since the publication of a story that falsely accused him of using a racial slur.”

Papa John’s denied Schnatter’s claims in a statement. The company said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the lawsuit, which it called “needless and wasteful.”

One thing is for sure, the more the players continue to air their dirty laundry in public, the longer it will take to move on and recover their reputations.

Five Ways to Resonate With Generation Z

As a digital marketer, my daily mission is to understand where people are spending their time and how to connect with them. Generational differences fascinate me, as this is one of the first things I consider when I craft a marketing message.  Now that we’ve spent the last 10 years talking about Millennials, let’s take a deep-dive into the next generation on the rise – Generation Z.

Generation Z: Who They Are

Born between the mid-1990’s and mid-2000’s, members of Generation Z have grown up in the Millennials’ shadow. Comprising 26% of the U.S. population, they’re now the largest generation.

Generation Z: How to Speak Their Language

Based on their unique characteristics, here are five things to keep in mind when marketing to Generation Z.

  • Generation Z taking a selfie | Photo Credit Elijah O'DonellThink Tech Savvy: This generation is fondly termed “digital natives,” because they don’t remember a world without the internet or cell phones – let that sink in. Why would they spend any time on your website if they can’t easily navigate it on their cell phone? Why would they trust your brand if you don’t have a digital presence? When marketing to them, it’s important to have a digital-first and mobile-first strategy.
  • You Don’t Have Their Full Attention: Gen Z are the ultimate multi-taskers who consistently use multiple devices at one time. With an attention span of 8 seconds, it’s important to make your content easily consumable. Stats and other impactful information should not be hidden in a wall of words.
  • Be Authentic: This generation evaluates your brand based on your digital and offline actions. For example, claiming that you care about your customers in a press conference, but ignoring complaints on social media will send up major red flags. It’s vital that your brand lives up to its promises at all times and on all mediums.  
  • Celebrities Are Their BFFs: Thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, Gen Z has an intimate view into the everyday life of their favorite celebrity. Unlike their parent’s generation, they don’t have to wait for the paparazzi to capture a photo, their favorite celebrities are sharing updates (and influencing purchasing decisions) in real time, multiple times a day. Incorporating pop culture or industry influencers into your marketing strategy can make your brand or product more relatable and relevant to Gen Z.
  • Tap Into Their Entrepreneurial Spirit: According to a 2014 study, 72% of Gen Z high schoolers and 64% of college students said they want to start a business someday. Incorporating inspirational messages and business tactics into your marketing is a great way to provide relevant content to this generation. Remember: Ideas are their currency.

What unique characteristics have you discovered from Generation Z? Want to learn more about targeting your messaging to the right audience? Contact us! We love to chat about audiences, tactics, and all things Colorado.

Olivia Ward is a Director of Digital Strategy at CenterTable. She has more than 10 years of experience helping brands find and target their audience IRL and digitally.